Hydration: The facts (by Sally Norton)
Pouring water from pitcher into a glass

Water is the second most popular drink in the US ….after fizzy drinks! A shocking statistic when you consider that our love of sugary drinks is one reason for soaring levels of obesity, type 2 diabetes, stroke and more.

And that’s not even taking into account the rising popularity of specialist coffees served in most high street coffee bars laden with calories, sugar and fat – which is contributing to our expanding waistlines and the health problems that go with it.

All reason enough to ditch the sugary drinks and make water the number one beverage of choice. But did you know that water is also a great pick-me-up and is one of the best health and beauty products around. Here are five reasons to drink more water:

Boost your brain power

85% of our brain is water – so being dehydrated literally shrinks our brains! Even 2% is enough to reduce your attention, concentration, coordination and memory skills – not forgetting those dehydration headaches.

Perk yourself up

In a food and mood survey of 200 women, backed by mental health charity MIND, 80% reported that drinking more water helped them mentally and emotionally. Not surprising, when you consider how much dehydration stresses the brain. What’s more, 2% dehydration can also affect physical performance – making water a good all round pick-me-up.

Save on calories

Studies suggest women who drink more water are likely to weigh less. This makes sense given that simply swapping sugary drinks for water (yippee, calorie free!) could save you more than 200 calories per day. And with some specialist coffees containing a whopping 500 calories, drinking water instead could save another quarter of your recommended daily calorie intake.

Eat less

Hunger and thirst are easily confused – another reason why drinking more water can help with weight loss. What’s more, studies show that filling up with water before or with meals can reduce the amount of calories consumed.

Look more youthful

Did you know that one third of your skin is made up of water? So one of the best beauty aids around is staying hydrated. It keeps your skin cells plump and looking brighter, and can help banish blemishes and improve skin tone and clarity. Plus water is a good deal cheaper than all those expensive anti-ageing creams many of us slap on every day.

How much is enough?

But how can you ensure you’re drinking enough? A rough daily guide is 8 glasses for women and 10 for men. But this depends on a number of things, not least how warm it is and how active you are.

A sensible guide is to make water your main drink of choice and to drink little and often. If your pee is a pale straw colour- as opposed to dark or clear – you know that you’re getting it right!

Dr Sally Norton is an NHS weight loss consultant surgeon, UK health expert & writer. For more info visit www.vavistalife.com.